Swaying With GenAI: Publishers Adapt As 2024 Approaches

This time last year, as observers have noted, most of us had barely heard of generative AI. Now we know more about it than we probably want.  

First, there was the buffoonery shown by Sports Illustrated and other publications. Some were caught red-handed publishing bad AI-written copy.  

Some people were fired over it. And that’s only a fraction of the job erosion we will see if publishers figure out to make this tawdry form of content creation work without live writers. 

Axel Springer isn’t even bothering to sneak around—it is openly leaning into AI.  

Speaking of job loss, several big companies suffered ad sales declines and falling circulation. Newsroom staffers were offered buyouts or sacked outright. One wonders how long name-brand editors can last in this environment. 

Companies like Gannett found ingenious ways to cut costs, doing no favors to readers or their staffs. 



No wonder the country is filled with news deserts. 

Indeed, a young person really has to want to be a journalist to go into debt to finance J school. There’s no real job security, and on some beats, as we are increasingly seeing, you can lose your life. 

It was a year of litigation, with Google’s legal team working overtime to fend off actions by publishers and regulatory authorities.  

But there have been a few slivers of positive news.  

For instance, Apple is in talks to license the news archives of Condé Nast, NBC News and IAC Dotdash Meredith, the New York Times reported last week. The deals are worth at least $50 million, it adds.  

However, some publishers are wary about getting into bed with Apple. For one thing, Apple could well become a potential news competitor. 

And Apple has shown that it has its own ideas about privacy and other issues. Case in point: thanks to Apple, the email open rate has lost some of its effectiveness as a metric. Take it or leave it.  

Still, it’s promising. Publishers can use the revenue and they certainly will want to apply genAI to help with their workflow.

And nonprofit newsrooms are growing nationwide. 

The final verdict? It was a very tough year in the news trade. More power to those who are fearlessly conducting investigative reporting and fighting for freedom of the press worldwide.


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